by Robert Perales, A&E Editor
Whether it was the cancellation of Gay Straight Alliance or my first-hand experience of bigotry while buying my prom tickets, throughout my four years at WHS, I have noticed a lack of support for the LGBT community. When I entered the boys’ bathroom, I encountered a hanging flyer promoting a new LGBT club, and my perception was vastly changed.
“Skittles” is the name of the new organization run by student services. Although I was excited for the creation of a new club at WHS that would support the LGBT community, unfortunately, I found the name to be offensive. The term is degrading and ultimately fails to show the advancement the community has made over the previous years.
The organization was named “Skittles” in an attempt to show the variety at WHS, but the message is simple. By naming a club “Skittles,” it not only categorizes the entire LGBT community and continues to separate them from the heterosexual community, it also arouses the idea that in order for someone to be a homosexual, he must be part of the stereotype often associated with the LGBT community.
Despite the perception that Skittles was a club, it is solely a support group, which specializes in the need for individuals who seek help in specific areas concerning LGBT interests and needs.
“It is not the same thing as a club because it is not available to everyone in the school to be a part of. Students who are interested in receiving support services from Skittles are first put through a screener to see if their needs match the group supports,” Monica Muciaccia, school psychologist intern, said.
Harlan Rosen, senior, had a strong opinion on the qualification process Skittles has prior to admitting any member.
“Often, but not in all cases, a youth would avoid taking such an ‘entry exam’ for the same reason he has avoided coming out: his own irrational perceptions of the consequences of doing so. By catering to students who may be completely closeted, Skittles does a disservice by asking them to confront their own sexuality before offering them the support to do so,” Rosen said.
Although I appreciate the efforts, Skittles is attempting to make, as a member of the LGBT community, I strongly question how much of an effect the name and the screening process will have on the overall group.
By closing the group to only students who qualify, it once again only enlarges the barrier between heterosexuals and the LGBT community.
“In terms of changing WHS, I would say our hope is to provide a safe and confidential environment where students in the LGBTQ community at WHS can feel comfortable discussing themselves and others who fit within this community. Also, to bring awareness to the strong need of support services needed in schools for students within the LGBTQ community,” Ms. Muciaccia said.
It is evident that Ms. Muciaccia and the rest of the student services staff works to make an effort at changing the dynamic for LGBT students at WHS, so I strongly hope that any LGBT student who qualifies for the group attends.
However, I also hope that WHS does more to make the LGBT community one in the same with the general public in order to form unity throughout WHS and eventually the entire world.